I am a graduate of Queens Sonic Arts & Music Technology course, and since graduating I have been spending my time managing a small Belfast based live music Promotions Company called Redbeard PR.
I have also been playing live in a number of different musical projects for the last decade or so, ranging from reggae to punk to noise rock.
I have spent the last few years building up a home recording studio, and would love to one day build it to a point where it became commercially viable as a source of revenue. At the moment it’s used primarily for demoing/archiving my own music, as well as recording rough recordings of my bands music. I play a variety of instruments but specialise in bass guitar.
I have an active interest in most areas of the music industry, from live sound and events management to composition and song arrangement.
13 February 2015
These three days have been primarily spent in what is now unofficially designated as my office, which is the small studio room in the Cool Academy building.
I have had a constant stream of audio interviews to work through, from a range of sources. There have been phone interviews from youth workers or those who work in industries that deal directly with employment issues for young people, there have been a plethora of interviews from people who work within the station, members of the public giving their opinion on road safety and a whole heap of audio from Cool Academy members interviewing each other.
The biggest problem I have at the moment is cataloguing and keeping everything tidy so that I can find what I need when I need it. Adobe Audition has a habit of bundling a lot of unnecessary files with it’s bounced content which only serves to make things cluttered. The dictaphones also have a top sampling rate of 32KHz, which means I have to upsample everything to 44,1 before doing anything with it.
As of the 13th, I am taking each interview and cutting and filing it into separate sections based on relevance to the four main topics that were chosen. These were Advice, Experience, Retraining and Self Promotion.
After I’m done with that the group will choose the best snippets to be included in the final radio show.
On this day everyone else went out on the bus and Cherelle, Shannon and I were the only ones left at the station. I was on the other end of the microphones today as I had to go round the station and briefly interview a number of folks from the Newsroom, the Programming Room and Rebecca McKinney. The questions were all related to the experiences that they had getting into their chosen vocation, and whether or not they had initially set out to do something different in their youth.
A lot of people had surprising qualifications or backgrounds, but ultimately everyone seemed genuinely happy in the job that they had ended up in.
Today was spent out on the Cool FM media bus getting interviews with members of the public about Road safety for the Big Lottos’ “Take Care, Get There” campaign. We went to Glengormley in the morning and into Ballyclare town centre in the afternoon.
I had a small editing station set up on the bus to edit the interviews as they were given to me. A lot of the audio wasn’t usable. This was mainly due to the interviewers not being used to the dictaphones and how the microphones work in terms of people talking into them and how it effects the final product. Another big problem was car noise, as most of the talking was done on a roadside.
Today was spent discussing the ideas that the group has for a specific topic to cover for our hour-long radio segment that will be broadcast on March 1st, Although there were a host of various topics posed, we eventually settled on an issue that has effected us all, which is the difficulties that young people face in trying to find employment.
This topic was split into four sections; Advice, Experience, Retraining and Self Promotion.
After this was settled, we all voted on the roles that we wanted for other people to take on in order to make this radio show a reality. As my background is in audio engineering (and I had already been editing the audio) I was predictably chosen as one of the engineers, which I was very happy with.
9 February 2015
Following on from Paulos talk the previous week, we had Ross Tilley in to talk to us about the website and web content. Ross was from a much more technical background and seemed to focus a lot more on the official website than the social media reach. He explained the process of analytics within websites.
The big three mediums are currently Mobile, Web and Social media. The trick, in business, is to maintain a constant theme and presence in all mediums at once.
The company and the brand has to stay on top of all current technological trends.
Today we got to see inside of the studio in which Carl Kinsman (Commercial Imaging/Producer) records the audio transitions and jingles for the station. This was the most interesting part of the course for me so far, as Carl uses the same audio recording system that I use in my home. recording setup He was able to run me through his entire composition/recording method in depth.
The afternoon was spent with Keith Law, who is in charge of the adverts creation. He talked us through the different ways in which you have to deal with the clients and find the most suitable advertising theme for a particular product. He played numerous examples of his award winning (or award nominated) adverts,
Paulo Ross came in and told us about his duties outside of presenting. This mainly focused on the social media presence that the Cool FM brand maintains primarily on Facebook. He told us how he was single handedly responsible for double the amount of likes the Facebook page has since he started 10 months ago. He does this by sharing images and videos from other parts of the internet that he thinks will be the most effective.
4 February 2015
Today we got a talk from Mr David McCammond, who is the Deputy Program Controller. Everything that is presented on the station has to be representative of the brand, this includes the music. The brand for Cool FM focuses on the 15-35 year old population and this directly determines what can and cannot be played on the shows in terms of music.
It is important to keep in mind that the listeners are the product and are never going to be as invested in the station as the presenters are, if their expectations are not met they will switch to another station. Pete Snodden came in and talked to us about his daily life working as the presenter of the morning show, and everything that entails.
Today we worked on out Big Lottery proposal from the brief we were given yesterday.
I also spent the morning editing audio that was captured at the equality rally in Belfast on the previous Saturday, This included interviews with the people who had organised the march and members of the general public providing their views.
Today we had Simon Mann come in and give a talk about what his job within Cool FM and Downtown Radio entails. He is the commercial director of the company, and his main role is to head the department that sources all of the revenue for the station.
He talked us through how the money is generated in all commercial radio stations. Non-commercial radio stations, he explained, work on not-for-profit basis and are usually community or council funded with the music and entertainment being the sole focus of the broadcast.
Simon also tasked us with collectively coming up for ideas for an event that would be happening in the summer of 2015. I don’t personally feel like this is where my strengths lie, and contributed very little that was worth anything.
We talked about online presence and how we represent ourselves on social media. As we’re now part of the course we are representative of Cool FM and have to restrict ourselves accordingly. We also talked about how we dress ourselves to suit our own style, even if not consciously.
Professional photographs were taken of us collectively and individually. Since we were restricted to the Cool FM grounds we had the choice between a car park and a hill. I chose sitting in a bush. I haven’t seen the pictures yet, but I can’t imagine they’re flattering.